Ulrich bijutsu exhibit invites involvement

3:45:09 PM CDT - Wednesday, July 19, 2006

By Shannon Littlejohn

origami choice
make windmill or paper cup
orange turbine born

Visitors to the Ulrich Museum of Art this summer can make their own choice of origami activity when they tour "Bijutsu: Japanese Art from the Collection," featuring a guide written for young viewers that older audiences can also enjoy.

This particular "bijutsu," which is a Japanese word meaning "art," showcases colorful 18th- and 19th-century woodblock prints by several artists, including well-known printmakers Ando Hiroshige (1793-1860) and Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).

An authentic Japanese kimono, on loan from WSU's Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology, anchors the small gallery. Further setting off the Ulrich's woodblock prints is "Crew," a large contemporary work by Japanese-American artist Gajin Fujita, who is renowned for mixing the urban graffiti of his Los Angeles community with Japanese influences.

After this showing, "Crew" will travel to Kansas City's Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art for a first-ever exhibit by Gajin Fujita, according to Ulrich officials. Aimee Geist, Ulrich education and training coordinator, said that former chief curator Elizabeth Dunbar, now at the Kemper Museum, began working on a large showing of Fujita's work while still at the Ulrich.

The Ulrich Museum's bijutsu exhibit and accompanying gallery guide are offered in conjunction with the Wichita Parks and Recreation Summer of Discovery program. Adults are encouraged to bring children from 5-12 years old, ask for a free gallery guide, and pick up a worksheet on how to fold origami (for people of all ages to create bijutsu themselves). The origami paper is also provided. 

With guide in hand, the audience can study the artwork and use the guide as a workbook to answer such questions as: "How many prints in this exhibit include a mountain? Do you recognize the mountain?"

Viewers will learn about Mt. Fuji and what an artist "chop" is. They'll look for the juxtaposition of the past and present in Fujita's "Crew."

Finally, they'll choose paper cup or windmill and learn the ancient art of origami.

"Bijutsu: Japanese Art from the Collection" is on view through Sept. 3 at the Ulrich Museum of Art. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; galleries are closed Mondays and major holidays. Free admission. For more information, call (316) 978-3664, e-mail ulrich@wichita.edu or visit www.ulrich.wichita.edu.

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